Determination. . . Finish Lines and Endless Possibilities

     So often, teaching and running intersect.  I constantly find myself using running as an analogy for life lessons.  The grit and determination that I find through running mirrors the beliefs I want my students to find in themselves. 

     Recently, my 3rd grade students and I finished our reading unit on determination.

It all started with the last chapter of Stone Fox, The Finish Line. My students and I were discussing what the finish line really meant to the character, little Willy. This discussion got me thinking about how we could apply the ideas to our real lives.

What does the “Finish Line” mean to you?

Does each “Finish Line” hold a different meaning and purpose? One finish line is a segue to the next opportunity.  

     The finish line of a race, doesn’t necessarily mean the end.  It represents the months and weeks of training, that many times test our limits and will to persevere.  The same can be said of life.  Reaching for the finish line.  We build up to our goal and feel pride and accomplishment upon achieving that goal.  However, that taste of fulfillment, brings on another goal.  Once again, we put ourselves out there and take risks. Training begins again and the vision of another finish line is within reach.  

     As I cross the finish line, I feel empowered.  That empowerment comes from setting a goal, being fearless and making it happen.  I want my students to envision their finish line, take risks and be bold.  What does it mean to cross that finish line?  Those final steps, a struggle, a hard, fast effort; crossing that finish line brings a rush of adrenaline and pride.  It shows us that we can be more than what we imagined we could be.  Crossing that finish line is really about conquering life, overcoming obstacles, growth from within ourselves and being fearless. 

     The finish line is a celebration of goals reached and dreams becoming reality.  As a teacher, I want my students to reach their finish line, but then keep going and striving for more in life. The endless possibilities that await each of my students as they cross their finish line. 

I posed the question to my students and here are a few 3rd grade thoughts on – What does the “finish line” mean to you? 


  • “. . . It’s not about winning, just have fun and be yourself.”
  • ” More than winning something, it means I accomplished something new.”
  • “I am the best of the best and I am the champion.”
  • “A lot of chapters mixed all together.”
  • “To not give up, keep going.”
  • “A big thing really just paid off and it feels good in my heart.”
  • “It means achieving my goals no matter what comes my way.”
  • “Chapters and chapters, always waiting for a new beginning in your life.”

What does the finish line mean to you? 

2 thoughts on “Determination. . . Finish Lines and Endless Possibilities

  1. runwiki

    This is the type of thing I love to do. I write in my journal like this all of the time. What a great teacher you are for posing a question to these young people and having them think, when t would be so easy for you to pass out a ditto sheet. Then, the respond, and you don’t judge their little answers… beautiful! Finish line to me represents all of the hard work and more importantly my character when the going got tough. It also means to surrender to the outcome. We can work hard and try for a goal, but it doesn’t always happen for us the way we envision, it’s best to do your best, plan ahead, but to be flexible in our thoughts.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s